Canada will act to keep doping agency WADA in Montreal: source

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canada will act to keep the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal after European nations pushed for it to be moved, saying the body could not adequately protect athletes’ data, a government source said on Monday.

WADA, which has been based in Montreal since 2002, collects, uses and discloses the personal information of elite athletes as it coordinates the fight against doping in sport.

The source said some European nations wanted WADA to be relocated to Europe on the grounds that Canada’s personal privacy laws did not cover the agency, which could therefore not guarantee the safety of athletes’ data.

The Canadian government is due to unveil its annual budget on Tuesday and the document will contain a clause specifically extending the privacy laws to WADA, said the source.

“This would eliminate any argument to relocate WADA’s headquarters over privacy concerns, and help secure the presence of this respected international organization in Canada,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

A WADA spokesman declined to comment.

Montreal is the biggest city in the populous province of Quebec, where Canada’s ruling Conservatives are hoping to pick up support in an election this October.

In 2013 the Canadian government launched a successful campaign against a bid by Qatar to move the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization from Montreal to Doha.

Reporting by Allison Martell, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Frank Pingue